Nottingham City Transport has been awarded “hero” status by a new national campaign for fair fares for under-18s.
The campaign, run by two 16 year-olds who became fed up of the way travel companies charge adult fares to teenagers still in education, has highlighted the Nottinghamshire bus company as a model for others to follow.
The bus firm, one of the largest in the UK and three times the UK Bus Operator the Year, changed its pricing recently, moving the adult ticket threshold from 16 to 18. It means that all under-18s travelling on NCT buses now pay just £1 a journey.
This change was in response to new legislation that means 16-year-olds in England cannot leave education after their GCSEs and must continue on to some form of further education or training, leaving them unable to gain full-time employment until they reach 18.
Emily Stott, co-founder of the campaign group Childfare, who lives in Beeston, Nottingham said: “Before 2015 there was perhaps some logic in charging adult fares to those 16 and over as they might be in full-time work, but not any more.
“We launched this campaign to highlight the vast number of transport companies and tourist attractions that still have a child price cut-off point at 15 or younger. But we also want to flag up those firms whose prices show they are sympathetic to the challenges facing young people. Nottingham City Transport is showing the way for bus and rail companies across Britain in making this change and we’re very happy to give them ‘hero’ status.”
The Childfare campaign, which was only launched at the end of August, has already won national media coverage and begun forcing organisations to rethink their charging policy. The BBC has changed the age at which its adult price ticket applies on its popular studio tours – from 15 to 18 – and other organisations have agreed to review the age at which they charge child tickets.
Childfare co-founder Sophie Barber, who lives in Bedfordshire, said: “We’re attracting strong support from both student and parent groups and it’s clear from the messages of frustration we’ve received from across the country that 16 and 17-year olds being charged adult rates is an issue that irritates many thousands of families in Britain.”
Anthony Carver-Smith from Nottingham City Transport said: “Our price change pre-dated the launch of the Childfare campaign but we were motivated by the same issues that Childfare are highlighting. We recognise that young people often need transport to get to education and value them as an important part of our community of customers. What’s so satisfying about the Childfare hero award is that it has come from young people themselves – it’s really pleasing to receive such an accolade!”